Wisdom from the John

Q&A with good ol' Johnny Bozeman.

Though more widely known for his gear expertise, Johnny Bozeman is wise in other ways, too. Think about it—the dude’s been around the Gallatin Valley for what, 140 years? Times may have changed since he blazed the Bozeman Trail, but the pioneer spirit is still strong ’round these parts, and our rugged-individualist ethos intact. So we’re happy to have ol’ JB weigh in on some of our readers’ most pressing questions. Got one of your own? Send it to [email protected]

Q. Mr. John, It seems that all I hear people talk about these days is recreating responsibly. What does that even mean? Isn’t recreation something we do after we get done with our responsibilities?
A. Look here, ninny. Like sportin’ skin-tight clothing at a restaurant, outdoor recreation on public land is a privilege—and most of it comes at the cost of the natural environment. Sure, new trails into the wilderness are great, but so is that elk herd, and so is the blissful quiet that happens when all you chatty Kathys stay the hell out. In a few words, treat the space, animals, and fellow humans you run into with respect. And pick up your dog’s scat!

Q. John John—I’ve got this lightly used 2019 Patagonia R2 Techface that is clearly identifiable as a non-current colorway. How can I get this garbage off my hands?
A. Jesus H. Christ Almighty—you talkin’ about a sweater or one of those fancy-dancy robots that zips around the floor pickin’ up crumbs and scaring the dickens out of Mr. Whiskers? Either way, I’m all set with my waxed-cotton overcoat—maybe take it down to Second Wind for the damned college kids dressed like a box of popsicles out on the trail to have a look at. 

Q. Johno, I just went gopher fishing for the first time and it was a smashing success. But the leftovers—what do I do with them? Will the Raptor Center take them?
A. Bud, I reckon the raptor folks would jump for joy if you brought in a sack of fresh prairie dog. But don’t sell yourself short: ever cleaned a fish before? Same concept, just the skin’s a bit tougher. Bone those buggers out, throw ‘em on the grill, and douse ‘em with Cholula. You’ll thank me later. 

Q. Boy, Johnny, people in this town are awfully friendly. Yesterday at the grocery store, the cashier asked me how my day was going, and I just about fainted from social anxiety—we didn’t talk to strangers back in San Mateo. I’m worried it’ll happen again; what should I do? 
A. Don’t you panic—muster up all the courage you’ve got, look ‘em straight in the eye, and smile. But hold your horses—we’re not out of this kerfuffle just yet. Once you’ve made eye contact, draw a deep breath and say “I’m doing well, how about you?” Now I know what you’re thinking: An invitation to continue the conversation? I may as well be tying a noose. But here’s the catch—it’s a small town, and I’ll be an ass hitched up in the heat of late August if you don’t recognize anyone at the store next time you run for milk and eggs.