A new resident to Denver, Justin Bubenik still lays claim to his Oregon roots where he grew up hunting upland and waterfowl, chasing steelhead and trout with his fly rod, searching the foothills of Mount Hood for wild mushrooms with his grandparents, and cultivating his green thumb in his family’s garden.
“Any new residency poses a number of challenges when it comes to adapting my outdoor recreational pursuits, but, after a long stint in Southern California, I’ve learned to embrace the 'wilderness' that is at my feet, and overlooked by the masses - I’ve come to love it. Every new location offers its own amazing opportunities and challenges, but I think my enthusiasm is only increased when learning new stomping grounds.”
During his spare time, Justin volunteers as the Executive Director of The Wild Gathering, a nonprofit focused on bringing together the collective voice of outdoor recreationalists for the betterment of our public lands and wildlife. He also serves as a volunteer hunting education instructor for Colorado Parks & Wildlife and sits on the Regional Committee for 2% for Conservation.
More than anything, Justin is driven to get more people into the outdoors, regardless of the activity - taking time to introduce youth and beginners the frustrations of fly fishing and tying through widespread (and online) venues and new hunters to the rewards of relying on sustainable wild game through CPW outreach.
“At the end of the day, we need more advocates in the woods and on the water, regardless of their what other characteristics may define them. Reshaping the societal stereotypes aimed at hunters and anglers, and those stereotypes perpetuated amongst our community of the diverse groups we need to reach, is a start to turning the tides. The fact that companies like Hunt to Eat are willing to have these complicated conversations, while fostering a welcoming community, is a sign we’re moving the needle in the right direction, but this is just the beginning.”
Follow Justin on Instagram @justinbubenik