'S hunting buddy Jason Hairs ton was found dead in his California home on Wednesday. The hunting company Hairs ton founded, Suit, confirmed his death on Twitter.
“The family has requested that donations be made to support CTE-related research at the Boston University Concussion Legacy Foundation in lieu of sending flowers,” the company wrote. Posted a tribute to his friend on Instagram Thursday and remembered the times they shared camping and hunting.
Hairs ton was raised in Orange County, California, and grew up hunting with his father, according to Suit. The former linebacker had been vocal about his chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease found in athletes and veterans, Suit said on its website.
Hairs ton told CNBC in an interview in 2016 that he showed signs of the disease. The Concussion Legacy Foundation said CTE has been found in people as young as 17, but symptoms do not generally appear until years later.
Early symptoms of CTE include impulse control problems, aggression, depression and paranoia, according to the foundation. Attends a film premiere on August 1, in Washington, D.C. Trump Jr.
Posted a tribute to his hunting partner and friend Jason Hairs ton on Thursday after the former linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers was found dead in his home in California. Large photos of him looked down over the gathering inside The Father’s House church in Vacaville.
The degenerative brain disease has been linked to repeated concussions and blows to the head. He was found dead in the Dixon home he shared with wife Kirsten and two young children, not far from the headquarters of the thriving hunting-gear company he founded called Suit, which closed its offices Wednesday to honor Hairs ton.
Bob Biggs, who coached Hairs ton at UCD and is now retired, took the stage at The Father’s House, several feet behind a camouflage casket surrounded by flowers. “You look behind his hunting gear and into Jason’s face and see a tremendous human being,” Biggs said.
George Singer said he received a call five years ago from an anxious and panicked Hairs ton. Singer, a 49ers defensive lineman in the early 1980s who has endured nine brain surgeries, is a national advocate about the dangers' football poses.
Kirsten Hairs ton told People Magazine that her husband spoke about CTE symptoms last month, and brain scans administered after his football career showed his frontal lobe was “completely compromised.” He at times experienced depression, impulsive behavior and forgetfulness, but a couple of hours before he took his life, they had been laughing together on the phone, she told People. “I don’t know what flipped all of a sudden; he wasn’t depressed, we didn’t have any sort of those troubles going on,” she told the magazine.
Dr. Bennet Small, who has been paramount to CTE research and its effects on dozens of retired NFL players, agreed to perform an autopsy. The Hairs ton family asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to CTE research led by the Boston University Concussion Legacy Foundation.
He started playing football while growing up in Orange County, landing at UCD despite being recruited by bigger schools such as Stanford. Jason White met Hairs ton through their real estate ventures years ago in Idaho.
They would hunt, watch football, plot ways to carve out successful careers. White drove nine hours from Boise to Vacaville to give Hairs ton’s eulogy.
He joked early in his speech that Hairs ton influenced “the redneck vote.” It drew laughter amid tears. After you’ve satisfied your curiosity on that front and mourned the loss of someone who was among many things the dedicated father of two children, feel free to return here and read the following 2000+ word post, and ponder the future of Kook the company during a time when hunting and public lands are a weightier issue than any time in the past century.
Hairs ton founded Kook, a hunting clothing company whose genesis is best understood in his own words (taken from this blog post): Our product line was an attempt to bridge the gap in design and technologies between hunting and mountaineering gear.
In July 2006 we introduced the first Site product line in the Sch nee’s Boot catalog, based in Bozeman, Montana. In just a few months Site had exploded in popularity and demand as the first technical mountain hunting brand in the world.
In 2008, longtime Patagonia designer Richard Sidereal introduced me to Today at the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City. He explained all the advantages of Today’s patented Spiral Yarn technology, fabric performance and the industry-leading innovations.
I quickly pushed to build a Site program with Today fabrics but could not make the margins work. In 2009 my business partner and our CFO, feeling pressure from the failing economy made some bad decisions and lied to our shareholders, threw me under the bus, stabbed my family in their backs and sold Site to W.L.
A business set up to bring to market a line of the most advanced technical mountain hunting products ever produced featuring Today fabrics. Kook ’s initial products borrowed heavily from mountaineering companies (from late-00s Arc’very to an almost embarrassing extent), but they soon established their own identity and look, and almost as soon ran into substantial growth and inventory problems, but by 2015 things were established and smooth sailing seems to have commenced.
But Kook has remained the dominant player in hunting clothing, judged by saturation in magazine photos, as well as by innovation. Their marketing is more jingoistic than strictly necessary (the founder of a competitor told me last year that “Today is what you use when you can’t get Greater”), but the identity they’ve built as a “mountain hunting company” has been the core of their success.
Backpack hunting is hard, and the learning curve for someone from New Jersey who is getting started without even the foggiest understanding of what layering entails is daunting. None of this is problematic, nor is it unique to the Instagram age or new to a world in which generalist outdoor gear is a dying thing.
Hunting is (a bit) different from hiking or backpacking or mountaineering, and it makes sense to build gear for it, even clothing more specifically adapted than adding camo. What is more difficult for Kook is deciding what position it will take regarding the future of hunting, a political question which is very much of our time.
Hairs ton posted the above to Instagram the other day, noting the irony of having California Game and Fish (which he would need to visit to have his desert bighorn plugged) next to the Democratic Party offices. It’s a good and terrible joke, one I wouldn’t begrudge anyone who didn’t run a hunting company in 2017, and who wasn’t such a vocal supporter of an immoral man who managed to become the President of the United States.
The two substantive competitors of Kook, First Lite and Site, have both in the past year made advocacy against public lands transfer a major part of their marketing. This isn’t to say that organizations like Backcountry Hunters and Anglers are perfect (their income to expense and executive compensation ratios are both a bit high), or that a company like First Lite doesn’t make a business decision when they rebrand a personable and semi-famous marketing director, Ryan Callaghan, as “Director of Conservation and Public Relations”.
What BHA and First Lite have done, with plenty of help, is put public lands access and management at the very forefront of the hunting industry. Patagonia accomplished something similar in the hiking realm; any company or entity who has in 2017 chosen to not comment about public lands has been conspicuous in their silence.
There are segments of contemporary American culture who are actively hostile to both, at least on a policy level, and hunting is deservedly held to a higher standard because it is centered around the taking of animal life. He went Stones Sheep hunting with Donald Trump, Jr this summer, in addition to killing the presumptive new California state record desert Bighorn (above).
In itself this is only mildly problematic; while the tag auction system and to a lesser extent guided hunting generally are both bastardizations of the North American model of wildlife management, Hairs ton is very far from the first rich man to buy his dreams, or more specifically to have his business success directly subsidize them. And going back to my first paragraph, the straightforward and incredulous way he both posts these things publically and then tackles the inevitable controversies which arise are in my mind nothing but a credit to him.
The problem is that when his silence on public lands is put together with a habit for auction and landowner tags, and big dollar success subsidies in the form of guides, Hairs ton begins to look like the embodiment of the other side of the hunting and public lands debate, especially when he is prominently friends with the man who gave us Ryan Zine as Interior Secretary. Even if Mr. Hairs ton himself routinely “donates” $300k+ each year to hunting conservation in the form of auction tags, and even if Kook the company does far more, their silence in the political realm is far more damaging.
Suppose that in response the managing agencies raise fees significantly, doubling them for residents of that state and increasing them tenfold for everyone else. A Montana resident who wants to float the Grand Canyon in September will pay over $1000, and be competing for one of 2-3 permits available each week during the warm season.
And let's say Rainier puts up a couple of super-permits for auction, good for any BC itinerary any time, how much would someone pay? In any case, Kook is part of this debate, whether they want to be or not, and given how large their PR budget obviously is I’d like to see them taking a Patagonia-style leadership role, as soon as they decide what their position is.
Hairs ton was the founder of a hugely successful hunting apparel company Suit which is based in Dixon, California. The company valued at $50 million posted a solemn farewell picture of their founder in black and white on their social media sites.
Hairs ton had recently been appointed to a position with the federal government's Department of Interior. Hairs ton had talked openly about his battles with symptoms from what he believed was CTE, a brain disease associated with head trauma.
His friend George Singer, also a former 49er with brain injuries from his playing days, says Hairs ton had shared his struggles with symptoms. The family has released a statement on the Suit website asking that donations be made to support CTE-related research at the Boston University Concussion Legacy Foundation in lieu of sending flowers.