Pro Staff Blog

Big Apple to Big Sky by Ryan Connolly

3rd Avenue got crowded.  Needs changed from black tie parties and 3 star dinners to the challenges and solitude of wild places.   I dreamed about wild things but remained in Gotham’s stronghold.  A passing bird or a flower box was a bumper crop of urban nature.

Slowly the plan made itself.  Starting with borrowed knowledge and an ancient 30-06.  Then a ‘lightly’ used truck.  150,000 miles turned into 250,000 miles studying the wooded corners and uncovering the secrets of NJ, NY and PA.  I drove and drove and hunted and fished and camped. <>  adopted me into their family. The calling grew louder but still echoed from those vertical monsters.  Fighting the daily tide.  More and more out of place.  Out of peace.

The plan developed it’s own momentum and finally one morning I packed that truck.  Full of what I thought I’d need.  Out there.  Put the rest in the street.  Thousands of books. Furniture.  Stereo.   I sold the plasma.  I said hasty goodbyes to my life, job, loved ones, to my city, to the concrete and the noise.

Four days and 2,400 miles later I made my way up the mountain and into my new life.  Log cabin. Air.  Mountains.  Deer.  The dog jumped out of the window.  I parked, got out and breathed.  Free.

Days are shed hunting. Trailing the elk herd. Watching wolves over a kill. Learning tracks.  Watching for the Grizzlies.  Wading the Blackfoot. Tying new patterns. Splitting wood.  Shooting sticks in the river.  Feeding the pig and chickens.  Watering the garden.  Whistling for the dog…long gone on an adventure.

The phone doesn’t ring.  It doesn’t work here. No TV. No Google. The wolves and coyotes hunt the river at night and sing.  The world goes on somewhere out there.  The stars bring us the news we need.  The clouds bring rain and the river and garden feed us.

The hills lose their snowy blanket and bloom with squaw grass.  Golden and Bald Eagles take to the massive ponderosas and we share curiosity.  Somewhere the tide of people float the concrete in the stale air.  Some letters come from there.  Asking if I’d lost my mind.  And when will I be ‘back’.  I send them pictures and whispers of the decency of this place. Big Sky.   God’s country. They try but can’t understand that I’m finally home.

Pro-staffer Ryan Connolly recent traded in the furious grind of New York City for mountain air and now lives in a hand- hewn log cabin in Western Montana. The cabin is the home of the Bunyan Bug (River Runs Through It) and sits on the Clearwater/Blackfoot winter game range and is steps from a turn in the Blackfoot River that he explains is ‘too beautiful for words’. His closest neighbor is not that close at

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Kevin Paulson

Kevin Paulson is the Founder and CEO of His passion for Hunting began at the age of 5 hunting alongside of his father. Kevin has followed his dreams through outfitting, conservation work, videography and hunting trips around the world.

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